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Parenting foster children with chronic illness and complex medical needs.

Research paper by Lori S LS Lauver

Indexed on: 19 Feb '08Published on: 19 Feb '08Published in: Journal of family nursing



Abstract

The experience of parenting foster children with chronic illness and complex medical needs was explored in a phenomenological inquiry with 10 foster families. Thirteen participants currently fostering chronically ill children with complex medical needs were interviewed. Recorded interviews were transcribed and analyzed using van Manen's method. Data analysis yielded five essential themes: Foster parents described being committed to the child in their care, coming to know the needs of a medically complex foster child, and identifying effective and ineffective interventions encountered through day-to-day living with a medically complex child. Furthermore, they shared what it was like to experience loss of a child through relinquishment and death. Last, for these parents, fostering children with complex health care needs was a life-changing experience. The findings show that parenting a chronically ill foster child with complex medical needs is a multifaceted experience having implications for multiple disciplines.